Sunday, April 4, 2010
Stand in the wind!
Get in the way of the wind! Yep, that is the way to go. And let it blow you forward. Soar! I shocked my husband a few years back when I told him, "I'm pissed at Jesus. He makes it look easy." This rising. Getting up out of the tomb. Rising. Rising up. Now, be patient, hear me out. No heresy, honest. But honesty, yes. Rising. I believe the story of rising, of new life after death, of a new, open future after closed broken despair is hard-wired into the DNA of the universe, as I believe Carl Jung has also proposed. And I believe that whether or not we are Christians -- and whether or not we are still folks who can handle being part of the church, with all its abuse and hypocrisy -- this story of dying and rising is archetypal and paradigmatic to our human really being. And so, with e.e. cummings, I can affirm this morning, "I who have died am alive this day." It is, as it always is, a new day, "the first day," as one preacher put it. For us. For the world. This spirit of life is moving us forward, up, out, on. But, not long ago, as I lay dying, as I lay in the pit, broken, in agony, betrayed, crushed, and, for all practical purposes (not exaggerating) dead, I confess to having a empty spirit. No hope. No stirring. Abuse and betrayal can do that to a person. They have done it to the thousands who are protesting today in Germany and around the Roman Catholic church and, as we know, the Lutheran and other Protestant churches and religious traditions have nothing to brag about either in that regard; it just doesn't get the coverage. Power is deadly when it is abused. We know. As have generations going back to the dawn of time. I was an empty shell, a spectral barren ghost of myself. And then Easter came. That first Easter afterward. Ha! Easter indeed! There was no Easter in me and none found me that year. I wanted it but it just wasn't coming. Except I see in retrospect, the smallest stirring of life, imperceptible at the time, and apparent only in its effect, and barely. I was pissed at Jesus for making it all look easy. The rising, that is. Yes. He died an outlaw, a dumped on, despised and pathetic broken man. An agonizing, prolonged, cruel way to die. Strung up. And, as the wonderful mythology of Holy Saturday goes, he struggled for a day, in hell, fought mightily against the devil, against the powers of evil. For a day. For a day! One flippin' day. And then he got up. Or was raised up. It looked too easy. And folks expect humans to recover that quick, as well. Doesn't happen. Now, several years later, I still find it annoying but, well, that's Jesus. And so be it. For me, for many of the folks I know and know about, it takes longer. In fact, it goes on day after day after day. We die, we rise. we fall, we get up. We lose, we win. We lay down our lives, we are given them back again. What an amazing story. What powerful images to impel us to keep going. But. This life Spirit, God, however you wish to describe or name it, the Spirit blows us along and moves us along, into ever new and newer life. We are called to let ourselves be lifted up by the drafts of spirit life, the Holy Spirit, if you will. So, I'm not Jesus. It goes differently for me. No angel, no rock magically rolled away, no earthquake. Just a life, struggling against the powers of evil. And asking for the grace to be lifted up, risen. It comes. Yes, it does, it comes. And one of the better ways to help this process along, is to get in the way of the wind. Let out the string, and fly! I have not done a great job of that lately. Time to go stand on a cliff. And let the drafts catch me up! That is where I'm headed, in fact, this very minute. Stand in the way of the wind! Soar! And much loving lively lovely new life to you all! Peace.